Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Modern Day Joseph

Greetings from the arctic circle...or at least that's what it feels like here in Big Sky country. 25 degrees below zero. That's right -25. Actually, we've warmed up quite a bit and are now hovering right around zero. Not really cold at all. I'm here visiting family for the holidays and was able to see my niece, age four, in the church Christmas pageant the other day. This is the church I grew up attending and I remember being in the pageants. I was always one of the angels. Never got to be Mary which is the choice role as she is clearly the star. Some might say Baby Jesus is the star, but since he is played by a doll in our church, it isn't really much of a part. This year we watched my niece file in with all the other kids and take her place at the front of the church. She looked adorable in her little wings and halo (she had to be an angel too!) and her red Christmas dress. Clearly she knew she was there to look good as she didn't actually do a lot of singing. She did wave furiously at her dad and grandpa who were both busy filming and she often turned around to look at the kids behind her. Sometimes she played with her skirt, doing her own little dance which seemed entirely unrelated to Away in a Manger. As cute as she was; however, she was not the stand out in this performance. That distinction goes to Joseph. Mary and Joseph, played by a couple of wee little ones, came on stage with another kid dressed in a donkey suit (he will most certainly be scarred for life) and placed the Baby Jesus (the aforementioned doll), swaddling clothes and all, in the manger. This task being accomplished, Mary sat down beside the manger. Joseph, in the form a true modern father, appeared terror-stricken and ran to his mother, abandoning Mary and Baby Jesus and leaving them to fend for themselves. Who can blame him really? A wife and baby are a big responsibility, especially in these tough economic times. As a carpenter, he probably hasn't had much work lately. Besides, there's that whole sticky paternity issue... I guess it's a good thing for Baby Jesus that Joseph wasn't a modern man.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Full English Breakfast

When I awoke this morning I was disappointed to find no one offered to fry me up any eggs and bacon (or as we Americans call it, ham) with tomato, mushrooms and beans as they had the past three mornings. And I was really starting to like the beans too! I just returned from a whirlwind trip to England to see the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet in Stratford-upon-Avon. It was absolutely fantastic and a dream come true. About 10 months ago I found out Patrick Stewart would be performing in Hamlet and immediately purchased tickets for two nights. Seeing Patrick Stewart perform Shakespeare has been on my list of things to do in life for a while now. I've seen his one man show of A Christmas Carol twice and it was amazing. I have been a Shakespeare freak since high school and seeing Mr. Stewart performing Shakespeare was a bit like the Holy Grail for me. Even though it meant spending money I really didn't have, traveling by myself and spending only four days total, it was something I was determined to do. As it turns out, it was more than worth it. I would go again in a heartbeat.

The trip started a little unevenly. My flight was about half an hour late so I knew I had very little time to make my train at Marylebone. I raced for the Heathrow Express to Paddington, from there caught the tube two stops to Marylebone and, quite unfortunately, missed the train to Stratford by just a couple of minutes. I chatted for a while with two very friendly conductors and after telling them I had theatre tickets they suggested that rather than wait for the next train, which if on time (not something British railway system is known for) would have put me in Stratford with only 30 minutes to curtain, I take a train to Warwick and get a taxi from there. It would give me an hour and a half. Perfect!

I absolutely love England so I enjoyed gazing at the green fields and fluffy white sheep on the way to Warwick. The taxi driver deposited me at the Falcon hotel in Stratford with plenty of time to shower and get ready for the play. The theatre was only a few minutes walk, but I didn't want to be late so I went directly there rather than stopping for something to eat or to go to the ATM even though the taxi had taken most of the cash I'd brought with me. This ended up being a critical error on my part, but at this time there was no way of knowing what the evening had in store.

I got to the theatre, had a bottle of orange juice (lunch and dinner) and took my seat. Front row of the circle, center. In my opinion, the very best seat in the house. For the next three and a half hours I was completely caught up in the magic of the Bard's words brought wonderfully and vibrantly to life by this amazing cast. I have seen a lot of Shakespeare performed, including other performances by the RSC, but nothing even comes close to being as truly brilliant and perfect as this production of Hamlet. The entire cast was outstanding, but I have to admit being completely blown away by David Tennant (or as I knew him prior to this, Dr. Who) in the lead role. He was tremendous. A true comic genius with the range to play the full scale of emotions of the Danish Prince from heartbreaking despair to ribald humour, acerbic wit to seething anger. Quite honestly, I think I fell just a little bit (okay, maybe a lot) in love with Mr. Tennant based solely on his performance. Of course I came specifically for Patrick Stewart and he did not disappoint. His Claudius was truly diabolical, and quite frightening. He is a commanding presence on the stage (or as I wrote in my journal after the performance, "like a god upon the stage") and I have to say I feel incredibly lucky to have seen him on four separate occasions now. He is an amazingly gifted performer and this is never more evident than in his theatre work. Finally seeing him perform Shakespeare was even more brilliant than I imagined. I also have to give kudos to Penny Downie whose turn as Gertrude was also quite memorable. The entire cast was, truly, outstanding.

So after witnessing this amazing incarnation of what is perhaps Shakespeare's finest work, I found that there was yet another incredible treat in store. After taking their bows, the actors announced that this was a special week in England when they raise money for the actors' fund and the entire cast would be in the lobby with buckets. OMFG! I could not believe what I was hearing. Mr. Patrick Stewart was actually going to be in the lobby. I could actually meet him! When I arrived in the lobby, there he was behind the bar, thronged by people, signing autographs. People were having their programs signed. I had decided to wait and buy one the following night because I had so little cash. Oh no. What to do? Then I remembered my ticket. It was actually quite large and would do nicely. I scrounged all of the change from my purse, about four pounds total. I felt terrible. I would have liked to have given so much more. If only I'd had time to go to the ATM before the show! Still, I knew this might be my only chance. Although they had said they were taking up the collection this "week" I knew there was no guarantee they would do it the following night. I waited for my turn with Mr. Stewart feeling excited, terrified, giddy and also ashamed that I had so little money for the charity bucket. When my turn came, I slid my ticket across to him and whispered a tentative hello. He took the ticket to sign and then looked at me expectantly--waiting, I'm sure, for me to speak. I looked at him with what I'm certain was a crazed expression of terror and could not bring myself to utter a single syllable. He handed back my ticket, I found my voice to say "thank you very much," threw my money in the bucket and literally ran out of the theatre.

OMG! Patrick Stewart had signed my ticket! I was nearly hysterical with my good fortune. It was only later that my regret at not having talked to him began to creep in. And I really wished I'd had more money to give. I could have asked if he'd take U.S. dollars, which I had, for the collection. I could have told him I'd traveled for 10.5 hours by plane, 3 hours by train, 15 minutes by taxi and 5 minutes on foot just to see him perform. I spent most of the night lying awake rehearsing a concise speech of admiration for his work, which (I hoped) didn't sound too stalkerish, on the off chance they would be taking the collection again the next night. I was fully prepared. I purchased a program and made sure to have some liquid courage during intermission. Alas, it was not to be. My chance had been a once in a life time chance. I was sad only because I really, truly would have like to have given an appropriate donation to the fund and I would also have liked to have told Patrick Stewart how greatly I admire his work. If anyone reading this happens to know Mr. Stewart, I would greatly appreciate it if you could pass this along to him. I realize only two people read this blog, but I'm putting it out there anyway!

Despite the fact that I was unable to really speak to him, I am absolutely ecstatic over my great fortune in being in the theatre the one night it was possible to get his autograph. And, even if I had not had that particular opportunity, I would still be on cloud nine now, having witnessed such a tremendous production, not once, but twice. It was even better the second night. I'm certain I could have watched this play a dozen times without becoming the least bit bored. I can say in all honesty that this was the adventure of a lifetime and a dream come true for me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kids Today

So I'm walking down the street to my office yesterday and I see an ad on the side of a bus shelter which, I kid you not, is actually aimed at getting kids to play. It says "One Hour a Day. Go Out and Play!" What kind of a country are we running here where kids aren't, of their own volition, going out to play? Isn't that their only job as kids? Isn't there something in the way they are hard wired that causes them to erupt into spontaneous play without prompting from the Ad Council? How did we end up here? Is it the video games which have taken over most every kid and a number of adults and turned them into sort of cyber zombies who live only in the virtual world? The paranoia parents have of letting their kids outside in a world filled with creeps and wackos? Or the chronic over-scheduling of our kids with homework, sports, clubs, lessons, etc. all aimed at getting them into the right pre-school so they can go to Harvard Law some day and then resent the fuck out of you because they really wanted to be a photographer? Perhaps we have a perfect storm which has come together to rob children of their childhoods, of the pure exhilaration of riding their bikes as fast as they can and taking the "Evil Knievel" style jump at the bottom of the hill, of climbing trees and throwing Frisbees, playing football and having snowball fights. I admit I spent more than enough time sitting on my fat little backside playing Barbies, but I did all these things and more and had a ball! Do kids today really need an ad to encourage them to have real fun in the real world? If that's true then it is a sad, sad day for America.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Bailout Blues

What the fuck is going on here? AIG gets $85 billion then sends their people on a $400,000 retreat and the government turns around and hands them another $38 billion? Are they on crack? According to this article on Marketwatch.com http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/senate-chair-gets-mad-over/story.aspx?guid=%7BCDA1827B%2DFC98%2D4320%2D80E9%2DCD0239BDC80F%7D AIG has yet another retreat planned! And Wachovia is sending up to 75 of its brokers and their significant others on a cruise of the Greek Isles. This is beyond ridiculous! I have no words to describe how offended I am. Remember when everyone used to complain about the "welfare moms" who were driving Cadillacs? How is this any different? These companies are accepting bailout money and then continuing to behave irresponsibly. Talk about fucking hubris. Kudos to Senator Baucus. I hope he can actually do something to bring these greedy bastards down.

Look, I did NOT buy a house I couldn't afford. I didn't dupe stupid people into taking out adjustable rate mortgages on houses they couldn't afford. I didn't package up bad loans and sell them as securities. I didn't rate said securities as AAA. So tell me again why I'm stuck footing the bill for these shenanigans? Fuck every last one of them. Let the banks fail and they can all rot in hell. All my money's in liquid assets (aka wine!) so I've nothing to lose now that my 401k has been decimated. I can live on ramen. I've done it before. Let Wall Street feel what it's like to suffer for change. Maybe I'll never be able to retire, but if it means these bastards get what's coming to them, I don't care. I am too incensed to care.

I do have one really good idea for helping Wall Street out though. I know exactly how they can raise a ton of money. Did you hear how Lehman Brothers CEO, Richard Fuld, was punched in the face while running on a tread mill in the gym after announcing Lehman would be filing for bankruptcy? Knocked him right the fuck out, apparently. I know, it really is awesome! Now, wouldn't you like a similar opportunity? I know I would. I say we take all these Wall Street Fat Cats, especially any recipients of golden parachutes and any prick who goes on that cruise of the Greek Isles, and we line them all up and for $10 anyone who wants to can take their best shot. $20 for a shot to the groin! I think there would be plenty of interest from all the Joe and Jane Six-Packs out on Main Street, don't you? Look, I know violence is wrong, but I'm just saying.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Made in America

Remember when you were a kid and you could still actually find stuff that was made in America? When was the last time you saw something with a made in America label? I know I can 't remember. It used to be only cheap stuff was made in China and it was considered inferior. We didn't have Wal-Mart when I was a kid. We had K-Mart. Sure we shopped there, but never for anything substantial. K-Mart was associated with cheap products. Often made in China. Or Taiwan. All of my Barbies, which we bought at K-Mart, had Taiwan stamped on them. Foreign made products made my WWII vet dad angry and he avoided them when he could. The implication was always that products made in China were cheaper and, therefore, inferior. For the past ten to fifteen years I've noticed more and more things have the made in China label. I've purchased gifts, say photo frames with little tags saying made in China. I always removed the tag so the recipient wouldn't think I was cheap. It has recently occurred to me that it is no longer only cheap things which are made in China. I bought a decidedly not cheap dining set last year. The brand name was American Drew. Imagine my surprise when the table and chairs were delivered and I discovered little tags saying made in China. You would think that if the company name is American Drew, their products would be made in fucking America Yesterday, I was washing dishes and noticed for the first time that underneath the Crate & Barrel logo on the back of my plates it says, you guessed it, made in China. Again, these plates were not cheap. I did not buy them at Wal-Mart. I bought them at Crate & Barrel. Fucking Crate & Barrel. I suppose I really shouldn't be disparaging China in this way and I sound a bit like Archie Bunker here, but it would be a lot easier if there weren't a story every other month about some new poisonous product coming out of China. First the dog food, then the toothpaste, the children's toys. Now of course they have the tainted milk. Products made with the tainted milk have, in fact, made it to the USA. Mostly to small Asian markets, but still, is anyone paying any attention? Shouldn't one poison scare be enough? And what's up with the Chinese?
They executed the former head of their FDA last year http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/09/AR2007070900689_pf.html. Now you would think that would be enough to put everyone on the straight and narrow and yet, here they are with tainted milk.

But China really isn't the problem. The problem is American companies who are so obsessed with profit margin that they refuse to make things in America anymore. Manufacturing jobs are going the way of the Dodo bird. And with these manufacturing jobs goes our middle class--the very people companies count on to purchase the products they have made in China, Bangladesh, Mexico, etc. Without a middle class, there just isn't going to be a market for consumer goods, no matter how cheaply Wal-Mart can sell them.
Look, I don't know what the answer is here, clearly we are living in a global economy (one that is in serious trouble right now), but the collapse of the middle-class in America seems almost apocalyptic in nature and I think it is about time American businesses thought about the big picture for a change instead of just this quarter's bottom line.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Penny Pinching

Since my financial situation is not as sound as it once was I've been looking for ways to cut expenses. One obvious choice is the morning coffee I generally pick up on the way to work. Now, I could save a ton of money by drinking the toxic sludge that passes for coffee at the office, but that seems a bit severe. Despite the fact that the office buys premium brand coffees something about the brewing method or equipment always results in something highly offensive. Since life is just too short to put up with something so foul, I decided to purchase a French Press coffee maker and brew my own. I have to say it is quite amazing. I've had French Press coffee in restaurants, but I've never made it at home before. It makes a really rich, delicious cup of coffee. Far superior to my old drip coffee maker. I feel great since I'll be able to save money while at the same time enjoying a really good cup of coffee on my way to work. This is key since the luxury of a cup of coffee on the way is one of the ways I bribe myself to actually get out of bed and into the shower every morning rather than just calling in sick and going back to sleep (which is always my first choice). Coffee and using the office outlet to charge my laptop are the main reasons I go. Technically this is probably stealing, but since they are sucking the life out of me little by little, I feel it's only fair I suck up a little free electricity. Plus, I'm saving literally pennies a month on my electric bill. I'll be a millionaire in no time!

NFL In Los Angeles

So some of you may have noticed that LA doesn't have an NFL team. Yes, we're one of the largest markets in the country and yet we have no team. Sure, LA fans have been known to be apathetic. Yes, they often leave at the start of the 4th quarter to get a jump on traffic. And it is also true that with so many transplants, the majority of Angelenos are following a team from some other part of the country anyway. So, while many of of us don't actually care that much about LA not having a team, the thing that does bother me is why we can't get better games on TV. Today, for instance, there's one morning game and what do we get? Oakland at Buffalo! Are you fucking kidding me? Who wants to see this crap? I realize the Raider Nation is alive and well in LA, but seriously even they can't think this is going to be a good game! And I do know a couple of Bills fans (apologies to DM and BA) who I'm sure are happy to see their team, but come on! If there were two morning games so we at least had a choice, it wouldn't be a big deal. With no team of our own, we should be able to get the best games every week. And I will admit there aren't a lot of great morning games today, but it seems they are always trying to cram either the Raiders or the Chargers down our throats. I would write a strongly worded letter to Time Warner, but I'm sure it wouldn't do any good. I begged them to let me have NFL Network to no avail. I guess the best solution is for me to switch to DirecTV so I can get NFL Sunday Ticket and see whichever game I want... because life is just too short to spend your Sundays watching crap games (unless of course your team happens to be playing in the crap game...but that's another post!)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Missing Mick!

Finally! I've survived another week and am now safely ensconced on my lovely sofa with with a Sam Adams in one hand and the TiVo remote in the other ready to catch up on the past week's TV offerings! I realize it verges on (okay is) pathetic that this is the highlight of my week, but since I have so little time for myself these days I relish my Friday night ritual. Sure a life would be nice, but my sofa is very comfy! Of course my Friday nights were a helluva lot better this time last year when I could watch the adorable Alex O'Loughlin on Moonlight. Ever since the fall season started, I've been missing my vampire fix so tonight, in addition to catching up with Mad Men and Sarah Connor Chronicles, I'm watching one of the old episodes. I really wish CBS would have given the show a fair shot. It will be interesting to see what they come up with for Alex next year since they were actually smart enough to keep him around. I'm sure he'll be great in whatever it is. And I'll be watching from my lovely sofa.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Musings on Money and Happiness

Remember that old saying that money can't buy happiness? Total and complete crap. Money can, in fact, buy happiness. I once pointed out on this very blog that money couldn't buy happiness, but it could buy a Marc Jacobs bag. I'm only just realizing that the ability to buy a Marc Jacobs bag was, for me at least, happiness! With the economy in the toilet, the cost of everything going up, up, up and my monthly expenses doubling because my roommate bailed, I have very little discretionary income left. In other words, my fun money is gone, and with it, my fun! Now I know there are many things one can do for low or no cost. Yes, I am a fan of sunsets, museums and all the other lovely things which can be enjoyed without a platinum card. But the truth is, I'm a much bigger fan of collecting wine, fine dining and travel. Plus for me, the real kicker is I don't like my job. The one big upside has always been the fact that I was fairly comfortable financially. The job sucked, but it afforded me the ability to pursue my expensive interests. Since that is no longer the case, it is even more difficult to drag my sorry ass into the office every morning. I realize that the financial melt down means a lot of people have much more serious problems than I do--they've lost jobs, homes, etc., but the reality is that I have giant student loan debts of my own, my savings has gone bye-bye and I'm really not feeling all that secure either. Looks like the party's over on Wall Street as it has been for the rest of us for a while. Sad to say, I think it is going to be one helluva hangover. And now that I no longer have the rationalization that the unhappiness of the job is balanced by the happiness of the things it buys, I have to ask myself what the fuck am I really doing here?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Osteria Mozza!

Just returned from my third visit to Osteria Mozza and all I can really say is WOW! I absolutely adore this place. (I happen to adore the pizzeria next door too, but that's another post!) It is difficult not to over order at Osteria Mozza because there are so many enticing dishes on the menu. This time we selected the grilled figs wrapped in pancetta with dandelion greens and the grilled octopus as appetizers. The figs were wonderful (how can anything wrapped in pancetta be bad?), but the octopus was outstanding. It had a serious char which gave it great flavor and the celery greens and lemon vinaigrette were the perfect foil. It was one of the stand-out dishes of the night. Next, we selected three items from the mozzarella bar. Nancy Silverton is a genius. Just thinking about her wonderful creations makes my mouth water. We had the scamorza panino featuring mole salame from Mario's dad's place. I've mail ordered this stuff before. It's that good. Here it is the star of a wonderful little pressed sandwich set off with pickled cherry peppers--scrumptious! We also had the ricotta and grilled radicchio with fried rosemary, honey and candied walnuts. This was the least impressive dish. The honey and rosemary worked beautifully together. The radicchio, which I'm sure was meant to offset the sweetness of the dish, didn't really work. Our third mozzarella bar selection was the bufala mozzarella, culatello and pickled shallots on pane pomodoro--this was so crazy good, I don't have words to express it. I have actually dreamed about this dish and hope it is on the menu next time I go!

Rather than have a pasta and an entree, I decided to have two dishes from the primi section. I started with the incredibly decadent raviolo with ricotta and egg yolk in browned butter with sage. For those of you who haven't had this dish, the magic comes when you break into the raviolo allowing the soft cooked egg yolk to pour out and meld with the browned butter making a luscious, velvety sauce. It is sublime. For my final course I chose the gnocchi with wild boar ragu. The sauce was rich and hearty and paired really well with the Brunello di Montalcino I brought. The gnocchi were ethereal--wonderful little pillows, melting in my mouth. It was truly a revelation. Unfortunately, after the second pasta course we had eaten too much to even think of getting a dessert. Once again, the meal was incredible. I look forward to returning to Osteria Mozza soon because life is too short not to enjoy incredible meals with good friends on a regular basis!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Wow! What a tremendous weekend for me! X-Games (not to mention the X-Files movie!! Go see it!!) and the Hall of Fame Game! Woooo Hoooo! I'm so excited to have NFL football back! Plus, the X-Games were phenomenal as always. All I can is Danny Way is truly amazing. I don't think Hollywood could have written a better script. When he said "I'm taking all the runs" I got chills. What a performance by Danny, Jake Brown, and Bob Burnquist. I'm just in awe of these guys. They embody all that I love about sport.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

You know it's bad when even your spam hates you.

A few weeks ago I began receiving spam with the subject line "I have naked video of you, Helen." My reaction, before hitting delete, was good for you! I hope you enjoy it. I mean I'm not getting a lot of play these days so really I took it as a compliment. Then I started getting messages with the subject line "your face looks so stupid, Helen." Well, gee, thanks! Isn't it bad enough I'm in the midst of an existential crisis here? Do I really need to be insulted by spam when I sign on to my email? And what exactly do the spammers expect to get from this? I hit delete so I don't know what the point of the messages were. Perhaps a plastic surgeon offering to fix my stupid face? What the hell?

Mistakes Were Made

Remember when you were young, like just starting college or maybe even just finishing undergrad? Recall how you felt like you had your whole life ahead of you? You were bursting with potential…the world was your oyster, the possibilities were endless. Then life happened and things maybe didn’t go quite as planned. Now here you are fantasizing about winning lotto because all that potential didn’t really amount to anything and you realize that winning ticket has become your last best hope--your ticket out of the job you hate and into the life you always thought you would have. Do you ever wonder how it is you ended up here? I mean was there one huge mistake you made that lead you down this path or was it a series of small missteps? Would my life be different if I hadn’t blown off the guy I met at the orientation dance during my freshman year of college? If I hadn’t started hanging out with guys in rock bands? If I had taken the job at my university instead of in the office downtown? If I’d gone to law school? If I hadn’t broken up with the boyfriend before the Rat Bastard? If I’d never met the Rat Bastard? If he’d never broken up with me? Am I somehow where I’m supposed to be? (What a cruel joke that would be!) Because I can assure you this is not where I ever imagined I’d be. I keep waiting for my “real life” to start, but as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” And all that "I've got my whole life ahead of me" optimism is fast becoming frantic despair--hence Lotto as a viable option. As I’ve said before, mistakes were made. I just wish I knew exactly what they were so I could undo them!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dismal Time of Year

With NCAA basketball but a distant memory and fully three months until pre-season football, what is a girl to do? Oh sure, there’s baseball, but I’m sorry…it’s boring. I have tried arena football and I reject it totally. I’ve often flirted with hockey and feel there could be a connection there, but really have yet to develop any sort of passion. I’m still angry with the Lakers and refuse to jump on the band wagon just because they’re doing so well right now. Plus, NBA ball is just not as exciting to watch as college, IMHO. Beach volleyball is back, which is great. It is one of my favorite sports. Unfortunately TV coverage is limited to the final which means we get to see Rogers and Dalhausser destroy one team or another week after week. It’s a shame there isn’t more coverage considering they diminished the sport by switching from side-out scoring to rally point scoring so it would play better on television. The game just isn’t the same since the switch. Of course I still watch, but I really miss the good old days when teams could fight their way back from a huge deficit and make an exciting game out of it. Comebacks like that are pretty much impossible now and I admit I don’t follow the AVP as closely as I once did.

So for me, this time of year is just spent longing, pining actually, for Fall and the start of football season. I guess the only upside to this long dry spell is how exciting it is when football season finally arrives! Those first few weeks-- when every team can dream of making the playoffs --are like being reunited with a long lost lover. You are so happy to see them, of course you forgive how they let you down last season. This is a brand new year, a brand new team and you are all starry eyed, believing that this time things will be different. This year you will go all the way! It is a beautiful thing, but for now all I have is anticipation (just like Carly Simon sang about in those Heinz commercials!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Help people. Sure...whatever.

So…I signed up to be a Big Sister. Sounds good, right? Hang out with a kid, do fun stuff on the weekends…Disneyland, movies, museums. Things you would do if you had kids of your own (which you might if you hadn't wasted seven of your best years with a Rat Bastard, but I digress...) Anyway, it sounds great, right? Maybe even make a difference right? Well, I signed up and I got a kid who doesn’t speak to me. Now I realize she’s had a hell of a life, so cut her some slack right? Never mind that she doesn't so much as say goodbye (I'm easy, I wasn't expecting a thank you) when I drop her off. She's troubled, cut her some slack right? You try spending an entire afternoon (your precious weekend afternoon, no less) with a child who may or may not be having fun, who may or may not actually like you, who will barely answer direct questions. You have your choice of either awkward silence or your own even more awkward rambling. Sound fun? Well, how about this? Apparently, she’s been kicked out of school for shooting a kid in the head with a BB gun. What luck! I mean she doesn't speak, possibly hates me and she has some violent tendencies. I don't care if it is only a BB gun. I'm pretty sure she could kick my ass if she wanted.

This isn't the first time my attempt at being a do-gooder has failed. I tried teaching adult literacy classes once…not so much fun. Most people drop out after a couple of weeks. One dude showed up (clearly baked) every few weeks. Who stays? The guy who needs to finish the class as a requirement for something else he’s doing…he’s in a hurry to get through and finish…does he care if he actually learns anything? Oh hell no. How rewarding was this experience for me? Not much. Now here I am a Big Sister. Rewarding? Not much, but at least I haven't been shot yet. Obviously I should get over the whole bleeding heart thing and just write a check at the end of the year like normal people.


Have I mentioned that I hate people? Not all people, of course. There are individual people I actually like very much. Alex O'Loughlin, for example. I'm also quite fond of several members of my family, and most of my friends. In general, however, I hate people. Mostly because people are stupid. And it isn’t just American people either (though we certainly do have more than our share). In Paris I found myself in the Louvre surrounded by (mostly) European tourists who insisted upon taking flash photos throughout the museum, despite the fact that signs everywhere specifically say “No Flash Photos.” In the US when you take a flash photo in a museum a large guy in a suit appears out of nowhere and threatens to confiscate your camera and imprison you (or at least kick you out.) In Paris, despite exorbitant museum entrance fees, there seemed to be no security staff whatsoever to enforce the ban on flash photos. Hey, Stupid Flash Photo Taking Morons, you are ruining priceless art! Stop it! Buy a postcard in the gift shop if you must, but stop taking photos. Just one small example of why I hate people.

Oh, btw, if you are wondering why someone who hates people so much is spending a fortune on grad school so she can go into a “helping” profession, well…it’s a question I’ve been asking myself lately and I have no good answer. Clearly mistakes have been made.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Post-Paris Post

So a lot has happened since my last entry. Well, actually considering it was two months ago not that much has happened. I did go to Paris for my birthday. It was a fantastic trip! I absolutely loved Paris. It is a great city in which to be alone. The beauty of the city is astounding, the museums amazing and the food...well I could write pages about the butter alone. I realized while I was there the weather perfectly matched my mood for the past two years...mostly grey with the occasional patch of blue sky and sun. Of course I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on my life (or lack thereof) and what I want from it. It seems one should have goals...something to work toward. After much thought, I think I've found one: I'd like to win lotto. Not some scratch ticket either. I want all the numbers, plus the Power Ball. Not just because I'm greedy (trust me, I'd set up some foundations, contribute to my favorite charities, put a few kids through college), but because I really just want the freedom to be able to say fuck you whenever I want, to whomever I want. When it comes right down to it, this is what everyone wants.

At some point someone (katedating.blogspot.com) blog tagged me and said I had to reveal seven previously unknown things about myself. I know it has been a while, but here they are:
1) I've both hitchhiked and picked up a hitchhiker. Scary, huh?
2) I still have the notes my friends wrote to me in high school. Never know when I may have the opportunity to blackmail someone... ;)
3) I am haunted by the fact that I have never cleaned the coils on my refrigerator which I fear may lead to its untimely demise.
4) During the second half of the basketball season I developed a slight crush on Duke's Greg Paulus who is not only too young, but also sort of goofy looking (in a very cute and totally hot way!) so I guess I'm not only a pervert, but have questionable taste as well. I'm okay with it though. I'm not okay with Duke losing in the second round of the tournament, but that's another story.
5) I really enjoy arguing about politics. Sometimes I argue positions I don't even believe just to get a rise out of people. It is so much fun!
6) Even though I'm a huge supporter of alcohol, I really like Shirley Temples.
7) I have spent obscene amounts of money on wine. Seriously, you think you know, but you don't! It isn't that any one purchase was horribly egregious, it is just when you add it up, well...let me just say even I was a little unsettled.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Valentine's Day Hell

I am in hell and I can’t seem to escape it. Every time I turn around there’s another TV commercial, billboard or window display reminding that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Yes, I will be alone on Valentine’s Day and the Universe has missed no opportunity to rub it in. Okay, I will admit that I’ve pretty much been in a relationship of one sort or another for most of my adult Valentine’s Days and had been so busy naively baking heart shaped cookies for the Rat Bastard, I never noticed how insidious this “holiday” really is.

Every online merchant I’ve ever shopped with is sending me emails suggesting gifts for that special someone. I mean every online merchant. Not just Godiva, but Pottery Barn and OnlineShoes.com. Who knew UGG boots were a Valentine’s Day tradition? Of course now that I think about it they were pretty cute and, since I’m the special someone I’ll be shopping for, maybe I should take another look at that email... but I digress. The scariest Valentine’s Day plug I've been assaulted with was the radio commercial for KY Jelly I heard this morning. Yes, that’s right KY Jelly wants to be part of your Valentine’s Day festivities. The fact that they were playing an ad for personal lubrication products was disturbing enough on its own. What really got me was the realization that, at the rate things are going, by the time I have sex again KY Jelly will no longer be a racy option. It will, sadly, be a necessity.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

If I trusted the Universe, I'd say it was a good day!

Much to my surprise today has started off quite well for me. I woke up early instead of late. I saw a cute guy at my local Starbucks. When I got to work there was not only a bottle of wine from a friend, but a Hostess cupcake waiting for me. Now really, I don’t think it gets any better than wine and the sugary goodness that is a Hostess brand snack cake, so needless to say I was thrilled! Of course this means I am now waiting for something bad to happen since I don’t think I’m technically allowed to be, well, happy.

My biggest fear is that the something bad will involve a TiVo malfunction. Since I have no life, or more specifically since the life I have is filled with a job, grad school and internships which seem to get more miserable by the day, I take pleasure in the little things (drinking wine, spending money I don’t have, etc.) Right now Duke Basketball is one of those little things. And it’s not just because there’s nothing else on TV due to the writers’ strike. The Devils are playing really well right now, despite not having a true big man, and tonight is the first meeting of the year with UNC –one of the greatest rivalry games in all of sport—so I'm really looking forward to the game. Plus, I happen to think Greg Paulus is hot. Not hot in the way Alex O’Loughlin or George Clooney are hot (you know, actually GOOD looking), but hot nonetheless! I happen to have a thing for scrappy point guards from Duke and the way he's stepped up his play lately has been impressive. Anyway, the point is, I have class tonight and won’t be able to watch the game until I get home so I have to trust the Universe not to interfere with my TiVo Season Pass. And I don’t trust the Universe. Especially not after it has lulled me into a false sense of security with Hostess brand snacks and unexpected bottles of Pinot Noir.

Of course, if TiVo functions properly AND Duke wins, maybe I'll have to reconsider my trust issues.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Money Can't Buy You Love, but it Can Buy You a Marc Jacobs Handbag

Finally! After much angst and introspection, I've finally come up with a name for this blog. A name that conveys my deepest feelings about where I am in life. And where I am in life is the fast lane on the road to ruin. Financial ruin mostly. The reason is simple. Life is just too short. Too short to drink cheap wine. Too short not to take that trip to Paris. Too short not to have a Marc Jacobs handbag.

I was once like you. Living for tomorrow. Worrying about the future. Then my rat bastard ex-boyfriend dumped me three weeks after my mom died. Yes, he waited an entire three weeks. Quite the charmer, huh? Well, I spent quite a bit of time in the self-help section. Overcoming Anger, Overcoming Fear, Overcoming Cheating Liars Who Lie and Then Want to Stay Friends. Then I realized I really needed to overcome self-help books. I achieved this with retail therapy. And vodka. I've been much happier ever since. Am I still bitter? Oh, hell yeah. The Universe clearly hates me! I'm stuck in a job I loathe and the ex still insists on being friends--whatever that means, but you know what? I'm going to Paris with my new Marc Jacobs bag next month and I expect to drink a lot of very expensive wine.